Election Watch 2016: Candidate Q&A — State Rep. District 1, Pos. 1

Publisher’s note: We submitted questions to all local Washington State House of Representative candidates whose names will appear on the Aug. 2, 2016 primary election ballot. Here are the responses received from those vying for Position 1 in the 1st Legislative District, which includes Mountlake Terrace, Brier and parts of unincorporated Lynnwood. To find your legislative district, click here.

Screenshot (537)Neil Thannisch, Republican

Q: Give us some background about yourself, such as your work, volunteer experience and history with the community.
I am an I.T. consultant with 30 years’ experience and I’ve lived in the Puget Sound area for 28. We raised three children here and sent them to public schools; one is a teacher, one is a commercial airlines pilot and the youngest is endeavoring to start her own business. I have been a deacon at church, a board member and counselor at a camp for teens.  I am not a career politician.
Q: If elected, what is your top priority?
Removing the tolls on I-405 and relieving rush-hour congestion is my top priority.  The design that is in place right now cannot be “tweaked”.  The State has spent $1.2B on the I-405 expansion only to turn around and toll us again on roads for which we have already paid.  That kind of expenditure should buy (and actually has bought) us enough capacity to reduce congestion significantly.
Q: What motivated you to run for this position?
We have watched State politicians implement and double-down on poor decisions. Rather than alter course, they place blame and rationalize their decisions. Rather than stay within a budget, they devise new ways to tax the constituents and call it ‘increasing revenue’.  Rather than listen to what our people want, the members of the House give their attention to special interests.  All of these behaviors in our current Legislature has given me cause to run.
Q: What do you want to see change?
I want to see a Legislature that abides by the will of the people.  Today it seems that special interests and unions will use their best lawyers to convince the courts to pass rulings that will allow the Legislature to circumvent initiatives for which the citizens have voted.  A prime example of this is the overturning of the successful initiative requiring a two-thirds vote of the people to pass any new tax.
Q: Why do you think you are the best candidate for this position?
I love the people and the beauty of Washington State!  No one wants to see pollution decreased more than I do and relieving carbon-producing congestion will help keep our air clean.  Reducing the waste of tax dollars will protect our families from further tax increases.  Reducing over-regulation on businesses will increase jobs and keep jobs in our state.  Fully funding education will secure our future and adhere to the State Constitution while alleviating the need for levies.  Reducing the size of our state government will restore freedoms back to the people of Washington and cause our leaders to refrain from reaching into our lives at every opportunity.
These are things I want for the people of Washington State.
Q: How can people contact you if they want more information?
Email: Neil@RestoreTheHouse.com

Screenshot (538)Kaz Sugiyama, Democrat submitted the following statement:

If elected, I will accept only one term. Politicians have become indebted to special interests and not the voters. I have not requested any endorsements because I should not be indebted to anyone except District 1. I am looking to make a political difference, not a political career.

I have dedicated my adult life to public service as a commissioned officer in US Coast Guard Reserves and as a social services specialist working with the mentally ill, elderly and the children of Washington State. My intent is to continue this tradition of service in Olympia.

Moving forward on education:

We hear this every election cycle. They say, “If you vote for me, there will be better schools”.  Then someone raises taxes and the schools may or may not change. Real change must be taken which allows children to learn in a safe environment free from violence and drugs.  Higher taxes don’t necessarily fix everything; but targeted change as well as collaboration with the community does change schools.

Making college more affordable and accessible:

People believe college should be free.  This is fiscally not possible.  Higher education needs to be affordable.  The loans taken out by students for their education must have interest rates based on their income after graduation.

Caring for veterans:

I am a veteran and have been activated 3 times.  I continue serving as a drilling reservist.  I know the struggles of coming back from deployment and the current issues veterans deal with on a daily basis. I am committed to keeping the promises made to veterans and holding those accountable who fail to do so.

Fixing I-405:

We have tolls and one of the highest gas taxes in the country.  We need to abolish one or the other.  When there are cost overruns, the tax payer should not pay for them. My parents ran a family business and if they spent money the way government spends it, they would have gone bankrupt.  I plan to use the lessons from my parents as your legislative representative to manage any budget.

There are many complicated issues.  I promise to listen, work with the community, and lead on your behalf. We all have a role to play (Democrat, Republican, and Independents).   Only when we put our community first and our political parties second will real positive change happen.

Thank you. For more information, you can follow me at the links below:

Twitter- https://twitter.com/VoteKaz
Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/kazuaki.sugiyama.79

Incumbent Democratic candidate Derek Stanford and Republican candidate Brian Travis have not yet responded to our questions.

You can learn more about all candidates in the online voter’s pamphlet here. The top two vote getters will advance to the November general election, regardless of party.

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